February 1, 2007

Garden renovation again, ho hum

Before and after, Heliconia and Rhoeo spathacea;
within 9 months this bed will be overflowing onto the sidewalk again.

When I first started gardening in a temperate climate long ago, I remember someone telling me that new landscaping won't look it's best for three years. Major garden renovation isn't necessary for − what would you say? − 10-15-20 years. Unless, of course, you are like me and spend more time rearranging your plants than your furniture.

Ginger, before thinning on right, after on left

It's really only been two years since we first began planting our garden. Last year we trimmed, thinned, moved, and dug out a bunch of overgrown, invasive things. This year, here we are again, digging out an amazing amount of plant material because it is just so overgrown. This time we are being even more ruthless. It is incredible how fast things grow in the tropics!

I just wish that I could find other gardeners to give some of these plants to. I've offered so many times, but people just don't seem interested. Sometimes they say they want them and I set them aside but they never come back to get them.

Before and after: Wild inedible banana giving too much shade replaced with "real" banana.

While it looks drastic, within 6 months this baby banana will be much larger and fuller. We have been told that by keeping these wild bananas on our property, they could cross with the edible bananas and ruin them. So, sad to say, all the giant wild bananas have met the fate of the machete. They have been machetazo (hacked to death).

This is my new compost pile. It is 4 feet high, 8 feet wide, and 6 feet deep (2.4 m. x 1.8 m. x 1.2 m.). About 90% of the volume consists of plants that have been removed from the garden in the past month!

One of my favorite gardening books is Plants for Tropical Landscapes. The authors are based in Hawaii but many of the listed plants are grown here − it's just finding them that is the problem. I have marked at least 30 plants that I want to get someday. Now that I have a little more space available, I think it's time to go plant shopping!

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